NEW YORK — Bazooka Candy Brands has a new parent company.
Apax Partners LLP, a global private equity advisory firm, acquired the New York-based nonchocolate confectionery company, from Michael D. Eisner's Tornante Co. and funds affiliated with Madison Dearborn Partners.
Over the past several years, Bazooka's U.S. retail sales growth has outpaced the overall confectionary category. For the year-to-date period through August 2023, retail sales have grown approximately 29 percent year over year, according to data from Circana.
"We're incredibly excited to partner with Apax in this next stage of our growth journey. Bazooka will continue to build on our history of successful brand-building and innovation to drive outsized growth in the U.S. and globally," said Bazooka CEO Tony Jacobs, the company's long-time president who was promoted effective upon the transaction's closing. "We have an incredibly talented team, and I'm very proud of the leadership position we've been able to establish in the marketplace.
"Together with Apax, we look forward to continuing to deliver truly differentiated and exciting products that customers love. I also want to thank our former owners, Tornante and [Madison Dearborn Partners], as well as CEO Michael Brandstaedter, for their support and commitment to our brands, which have enabled our strong performance and have positioned the business for our next chapter of success," Jacobs added.
Bazooka produces, markets and distributes a range of iconic confectionary brands, including Ring Pop, Push Pop, Baby Bottle Pop, Juicy Drop and Bazooka Bubble Gum. The company's portfolio spans lollipops, gummies, chewy candy, gum and chocolate, packed in highly unique formats to deliver "Edible Entertainment" experiences to generations of customers worldwide.
"It's rare to have the opportunity to partner with a business that can boast the success and heritage that Bazooka has, and we are excited to work with the entire team on this next chapter for the business," said Nick Hartman, partner, Apax. "Bazooka fits squarely within our team's focus on investments in well-positioned consumer packaged goods categories, and we see a compelling opportunity to leverage our sector knowledge to help the company achieve its next phase of growth."
The Apax team, working in partnership with Bazooka's management team, will look to stand the company up as an independent business and build on the success of its global portfolio of confectionery brands.
In support of its growth efforts, the team will focus on distribution growth, product innovation, geographic expansion and the strategic acquisition of brands in complementary categories.
"This transaction is the culmination of an extremely successful and gratifying tenure of ownership of Bazooka, which would not have been possible without the foresight and leadership of Tornante's incredibly talented president, Andy Redman," said Eisner. "Together with [Madison Dearborn Partners], an exceptional and constructive partner throughout, and our outstanding corporate management, including Mike Brandstaedter and Tony Jacobs, we have grown Bazooka into a group of the most iconic candy brands on the market. We look forward to celebrating the company's continued success from the sideline."
Financial terms were not disclosed. Macquarie Capital and Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as financial and legal advisors, respectively, to Apax. Deutsche Bank and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as financial and legal advisors, respectively, to Bazooka Candy Brands.
"It has been a privilege to partner with Michael Eisner and Tornante, and to work with Bazooka's leadership for the duration of our investment partnership," said Madison Dearborn Partners Managing Director Scott G. Pasquini. "Tony Jacobs and his leadership team are the best in the business, and we know they will continue to guide Bazooka to new heights."
Founded in 2005 by Michael Eisner, the Tornante Co. is a privately held company that invests in, acquires, and operates companies in media and entertainment.